The Hague

Holiday lights at De Passage (Or: A place to shop at, a place to get warmer in)

De Passage is an outdoor, covered shopping area in the city centre. There are no doors, but if you want to get a bit warmer you can head to the middle of it where the cold outside air almost doesn’t reach. Almost…

Here is a look at the holiday lights on top of one of the entrances. In the far distance down the hall you can just see the Christmas tree sticking out. They lit the tree lights for the first time on 1 December. It is definitely starting to feel like the holidays now.

Here is the store list for De Passage.

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Sinterklaas-themed window displays (Or: Spotted at Bijenkorf)

Bijenkorf is a high-end department store comparable to Macy’s in the US. Every year they hang up some gorgeous holiday lights and they decorate their store front windows for Sinterklaas (5 December holiday) and Christmas. The lights went up in early November this year, even before we left for New Year City. Here’s a look at a few of their Sinterklaas themed windows.

You can tell it is Sinterklaas because the child in the middle is holding the staff of Sinterklaas. What’s a Sinterklaas party without fashionable clothes and lots of gifts? Speaking of which, if you want to make sure kids in The Hague and Amsterdam area have gifts to open on 5 December, consider donating to Sintvoorieder1 (official website in Dutch). During their latest toy drive they received about 47,000 gifts for 22,500 children which is just awesome. The link is from omroepwest.nl in Dutch.

Happy Sinterklaas (in advance)!

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Oliebollen time! (Or: It must be November)

You know it is (almost) November when you see the oliebollen (English Wikipedia) stand pop up in the last few days of October, a sign of yummy things to come. Oliebollen are a donut-like treat that is popular this time of year. They are eaten en masse on New Year’s Eve. Marco and I usually make oliebollen every year. These days the stands are allowed to open from 1 November until the end of January.

As you can see they still have their preferred spot at the end of the Grote Markt street. They used to be closer to city hall but moved to this spot when construction for the Amare cultural centre started some years ago. Speaking of Amare–apparently the building will be getting a Spar grocery store (indebuurt.nl, in Dutch).

In other news:

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Beautiful blue canals (Or: Another view of The Hague)

Last week I took a walk to the old Red Cross hospital in Segbroek, a neighborhood in The Hague. It was time to get another corona vaccination. It was a route I hadn’t taken before, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful view of one of the canals:

I love photographing trees dipping into the water. And the blue, slightly cloudy sky was also nice to photograph.

In other news:

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Rain, rain, rain! (With: A bit of thunder mixed in for good measure)

Except for a brief spell one afternoon, I don’t think it has rained in The Hague for at least a month and a half. Perhaps that figure isn’t 100% correct, but you get the idea. Over the weekend I was running errands and I was disturbed to realize the pavement stones were so sticky in some spots that my shoes were getting sucked in. Ew.

But finally, tonight, the pavement gets a good cleaning:

Bring on the rain! And thunder too. There is never enough thunder and lightning in this country.

This website is buienradar.nl. It isn’t always the most predictable of websites – or perhaps I shouldn’t put some much faith into it – but it is useful enough. More water for the plants and trees!

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The Streets of Chuck Deely (Or: The 2022 edition)

Chuck Deely was an American street musician who played in The Hague’s city centre for years. He was such a fixture that the mayor of The Hague gave him a ‘street license for life’ to play music in the city centre back in 2008. Unfortunately he passed away in early 2017 (previous blog post).

Tomorrow (Sunday afternoon) is The Streets of Chuck Deely festival (official website in Dutch) in The Hague’s city centre, from 13:00 to 17:00. Check out the band line up. There are 10 mini stages set up around the city centre. Most bands will perform twice.

Mini stature of Chuck Deely (near The Hague Central Station)
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Chapeau! (Or: Hats exhibition in De Passage)

Look up in De Passage (The Passage) and you will see a few thousand hats floating above you.

The Hat Exhibition Chapeau! is being held in De Passage until mid-October (depassage.nl, article in English). As the story goes, a few years ago about 3,000 hats were found in a vacant space above the Ladies Paradise shop in De Passage. The shop itself closed around 1998-2000. The designer Pink Steenvoorden came up with the idea of hanging most of them from the ceiling for visitors to photograph.

You can view a picture of the interior of the shop at The Hague’s city archive.

If you will be around for Prinsjesdag, you can also take part in The Hague Hat Stroll 2022 on September 17. For more information see prinsjesfestival.nl (in Dutch). Everyone is asked to wear their prettiest hat. If you don’t have one, you can borrow one for the event from the supply of hats found in De Passage. The walk will go through The Hague’s Museumkwartier (the Museum Quarter [in English]).

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Trams in The Hague (Or: Colors and tunnels)

Here are two tram-related photos for you. First, a white Avenio tram:

Avenio is the newest type of tram available in The Hague. The big plus for this type of tram is that the there are no stairs to enter it – the door is at the same height as the platform. This is of course useful for people in wheelchairs, people with strollers, etc. Until this year the tram was black and red (see Dutch Wikipedia) but the white/red combination stands out more and is better for traffic safety. Each tram is being repainted as it comes in for a scheduled repair job, so it will take about a year for the black/red tram to disappear from The Hague’s streets.

This is a photo of the entrance to the tram tunnel which services the underground Grote Markt stop and the Spui stop. Trams coming in this direction are headed towards The Hague Central train station and trams going away from this direction are headed above ground, towards the Brouwersgracht stop.

While there isn’t a tram pictured, I thought the plants were nice to photograph. Perhaps I should take another photo in a few weeks to see if the trees still look green. About half of Europe is experiencing drought conditions at the moment. I hate to say it but we could use a bit of rain. Here is a map from the European Drought Observatory.

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Vroom vroom (Or: Louwman museum in The Hague)

Today Marco and I visited the Louwman museum in The Hague. I scheduled this as a surprise for Marco a few weeks back. Consider it a late birthday present. The museum’s collection started in 1934 and the museum has been in its current location since 2010.

On the one hand, it is kind of funny that I wanted to go to a car museum as 1) I don’t have a driver’s license 2) I don’t like riding in cars, even as a passenger 3) if I hear someone got a new car the first (and only) thing I ask is “What color is it?”.

The museum starts with horse drawn carriages and old cars like the one above. Otherwise known as death traps. An honorable mention not pictured in this blog is the Sunbeam-Mabley Motor Sociable. The driver sat in the back (on the right side of the photo) and the passengers sat in front of him (!), but facing sideways. The wheels were also deliberately not aligned, which made skidding less of a risk but falling over more of a risk. Hmmmm.

The car above is the reason why we visited the museum. They have an F1 legends exhibition on the ground floor. On its own I don’t think the exhibition was worth visiting (it features 8 cars on loan) but coupled with a visit to the museum itself it is worth it. The cars on display took part in the Dutch Grand Prix between 1948 and 1970. The exhibit runs through September 4, coincidentally the day of the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort. The car above is Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 which won the Dutch Grand Prix in 1965.

The museum also had a display of car related toys (above). They also have a sizable display of art, including posters, sculptures, cigarette cases, miniatures and other memorabilia.

Here is a lovely blue car with wicker seats, because why not? Read more here. Another wacky example is the swan car and the boat car (not seaworthy, unfortunately).

Above is a 1965 Ferrari owned by the Dutch Prince Bernhard. The prince specifically requested the metallic paint color “Verde Pino”. It is a beautiful color, and apparently the car goes fast too (the name of the car being Superfast Speziale).

You can browse through the rest of the cars by checking out their online car collection.

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Construction work in The Hague (Or: You want me to walk over THAT?)

As usual, like most cities, The Hague is under perpetual construction. Check out this photo:

I know it is perfectly safe, but that still doesn’t mean I want to walk over that board to enter any of those stores. This is was by the Lange Poten (street) in the city centre. The entire street was dug up exposing the cables underneath.

It was only like this a few days before they filled it back in with sand, though. So the crisis has been averted: so far as I can tell no one fell in while the street was open. This time!

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